I have no words today.
No thoughts of what to write, to say.
My heart is heavy. A fire rages out of control and like the thousands fleeing, I am helpless before its onslaught.
I am angry. Angry at the weather that fills the sky with endless blue and hot, dry air. I am angry at no rain on the forecast to squelch the fires burning, just more hot air and even higher winds today. Angry at the fire that feeds itself on its own combustion. Feeds itself on its own energy consuming everything in its path.
People’s homes are lost. Their lives strewn into upheaval. The memories and things they cherished gone up in smoke.
And I can do little to ease the pain, the fear, the sorrow of my neighbours.
Fort McMurray is a small city far to the north. It’s gained some acclaim in recent years as the city that sits in the centrepoint of the dialogue about the oil sands or dirty oil as it’s called by some.
And now it sits empty. 60,000 people evacuated. 60,000 people unsure of their tomorrow in a town they love, the community they build.
On social media, some have written how ‘it serves them right’. Some have suggested the oilsands are to blame. That the energy sector, the sector that accounts for 10% of Canada’s GDP is at the source of these flames soaring high into the air and wreaking such havoc on the ground. That because of the significant downturn in the Alberta economy caused by the drop in oil prices, and thus a significant downturn in Canada’s economy, the people of Fort McMurray, and Alberta, are getting their due. The chickens have come home to roost, one tweet said.
There are no chickens roosting in Fort McMurray. They have either been scooped up by frantic owners fleeing the flames, or been left behind because the owners could not get home to their roosts to save them. The chickens are helpless in the face of the fire, as are all the wildlife, the livestock, the family pets who could not be saved and the people who are fleeing for their lives.
Fire does not discriminate. It does not give grace.
And like the words of those who feel this is their time to stand on pulpits and chastise and berate those whose lives are being torn apart by nature’s untameable wrath, fire leaves scars.
As one tweeter said in response to a particularly nasty tweet about the people of Fort Mac ‘getting their due’; this is not about politics, environmental diatribe or anything else. This is about humans.
I stand with my neighbours in Fort McMurray today. I stand in solidarity with their need for safety, support, understanding, help.
The fires still rage. They still burn out of control. Today promises no relief. Only worse.
I am angry. Please, go away blue skies. Let the rains come down.